14 September 2015

Baboons up Baskloof

On Sunday we drove out to Kommetjie to fetch Pauline and then on to Scarborough. We parked overlooking the windy sea and struck out up the steep mountainside.
There were lots and lots of pretty spring flowers coming up on the firebreak - including Oumakappie orchids (Pterygodium catholicum).
As we came to the houses, the path takes a sharp left and we climbed higher and higher,
past lots of interesting birds and flowers - these are Frothy Heaths or Swartbekkies (Erica spumosa).
The Food Lady was in heaven! And me and Laddie had so much fun ...
You come to the Crocodile Rock and turn right,
then cross the rocky bits, trying not to look too hard at the scary snary rock monsters leering down as us.
Then you get a wonderful little glimpse of the sea down the kloof - which we think must be Baskloof.
All along the way there are welcome streams to dip and sip from.
Cape Bunting and other birds were calling and flitting about.
We stopped for tea in the shadow of Vloeiberg, and were enjoying delicious dog biltong and our own private drinking puddle, when we were suddenly aware of something coming down the cliffs in front of us. The Food Lady and the Alph dived for the leads and, snip snap, they were on just as we saw ...
OMG it was so exciting!
We nearly platzed!
Soon more and more appeared and nonchalantly walked past us, sometimes coming up quite close to investigate. It was a pity we were on leads as we were itching to chase those blighters back up the cliffs and over the hills into the sea.
The Food Lady discovered afterwards that they are the Misty Cliffs Troop. 
They soon moved off, followed by the baboon monitors, and so we resumed our walk along the road
until it petered out on a hill overlooking the Hoerikwaggo Trail route from Red Hill to Kommetjie.
It was starting to warm up rather, and the cooling wind dropped suddenly, so we turned round and set off back the way we had come.
A beautiful miniature protea - the Peninsula Silkypuff (Diastella divaricata) which only occurs on the Cape Peninsula, and is classified as RARE even though it is quite common in the Peninsula mountain fynbos.
It got sunnier and hotter - and the Laurel-leaf Sushine Conebushes (Leucadendron laureolum) were shining brightly.
Soon - great excitement and leads back on - we caught up with the baboon troop who were having elevenses and kipping and relaxing in the sunshine, completely ignoring us as we barked and pulled on the leads trying to chase them. Such spoil sport humans!
I was so focused on the baboons that I didn't really notice this strange tortoise who was able to pull right inside its shell so that it couldn't be seen.
The salt and pepper heath (Erica imbricata) was just everywhere,
as was the sweet-scented (for humans!) Struthiola ciliata.
Lad and I were all hyped up and eager to find more baboons - there were smells everywhere! Just look at our tails pointing skywards. The humans admired the Tree Pagodas (Mimetes fimbriifolius) -
some of them just starting to flower. They also only occur wild on the Cape Peninsula and nowhere else in the world and are classified as Rare.
Lots of bulbs are popping up now that summer is settling in. This is Moraea neglecta.
By this stage I was hot and needed to be helped down the mountain. Its not funny getting old and being a black dog on a hot summer's day. I was grateful for all the shade I could find.
Another bulb - Babiana ambigua most probably.
I took my time going down the last few metres of the path - still hoping to catch sight of a hairy, smelly primate ...
The Food Lady caught sight of hundreds of tiny little white flowers that put her in a spin ... possibly Wahlenbergia longifolia?
A colour variation of Struthiola ciliata.
The insect-catching Drosera cistiflora.
And lastly, some more dolls house flowers - Doll Roses or Pokkiesblomme (Hermannia hyssopifolia).
Pauline and the Alph and the Lad were waiting for us at the car and the notice warning us of ...
you know what.
Then we went to drop Pauline at her country house, and we made the neighbour's dog's acquaintance.
While the Alph and Pauline made some Gee and Tees, the Food Lady took us down to the vlei to cool off in the deliciously cold water. Après walk heaven for dogs.
I frightened a Yellow-billed Duck that scudded off,
and Laddie frightened some poor innocent rodent or gogga.
Then we had to wait in the car so as not to upset Max who lives with Pauline and doesn't abide Scotties.
Après walk heaven for humans!
Thanks from the Alph and FL Pauline!
For more info on baboons and their management on the Cape Peninsula click here.

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